November 17, 1935-April 14, 2021
Merle Vincent Stone (Coach Stone), 85, died peacefully at his home in Burbank, CA on April 14, 2021. He passed away after a short battle with cancer. Merle was a true original. He was a larger-than-life character that touched countless lives.
He is survived by his two sons, Peter and Adam; his daughter-in-law, Laura; 3 grandchildren, Tyler, Addison, and Ava; the mother of his sons, Debra Collins; several close nieces and nephews, about a dozen godchildren, and thousands of former students he taught or coached.
Merle was born in Detroit, MI on November 17, 1935 to his parents Grace and Peter. He had two siblings who have since passed, Gale Gorniak and David Stone. He served in the U.S. Army as a Military Police Officer and was briefly stationed in Germany following the Korean War. After serving, he graduated from Central Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He would later earn his Master of Science in Education from Western Oregon University.
Merle moved to Southern California in the mid-sixties. He taught U.S. History and Government at John Burroughs High School for 20 years before transferring to Burbank High for another ten years. He served as an assistant football coach for many of the Burroughs football teams during the ’70s and ’80s. He’d later coach at Glendale Community College, Valley, and Moorpark. In addition, he was the president of the Teachers’ Union in the early ’80s for a brief stint. Merle retired from teaching in 2000. He later returned to the profession as a mentor teacher in the credential program at Chapman University.
His passion was education, history, sports, and politics. He was a skilled teacher and coach. He loved working with students, motivating them, encouraging them, and offering support. He truly cared about their well-being. He was also a devout Catholic. He regularly attended mass at Saint Francis and later Saint Robert’s Church in Burbank. Merle will be deeply missed by friends, family, and all those who knew him. His hugs, handshakes, kisses, and booming voice were legendary.
If you’d like, donations can be made to Saint Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church: https://www.srbburbank.org/donate.